Backhaul/Fronthaul for HetNets: Requirements, Emerging Technologies and Industrial Practices
Abstract: Heterogeneous small-cell networks (HetNets) are considered as a striking solution to the challenging demands such as high spectral and energy efficiency of 5G mobile communication networks. HetNets are typically composed of multiple radio access technologies (RATs) where multiple low-power, low-cost user/operator deployed small cell base stations are complementing the existing macrocell network. Efficient and satisfactory operation of all these densely deployed small cells hinges on an economical and ubiquitous backhaul/fronthaul provisioning. Hence, there are considerable market interests on the development of innovative and smart backhaul/fronthaul solutions for ultra-dense HetNets. There is a wide range of backhaul/fronthaul solutions that together can address the transportation of heterogeneous-types of data between heterogeneous access nodes and core network. In this tutorial, we will first study the backhaul/fronthaul requirements (such as data rate, latency and implementation cost, etc.) and then present a comparative overview of several practical and emerging backhaul/fronthaul solutions for HetNets. Free-space optical (FSO) and mm-wave technologies are considered as potential candidates to enable high capacity and low latency wireless backhauling/fronthauling. Hybrid backhual/fronthaul approaches, such as usability of FSO and mm-wave with RF wireless backhaul/fronthaul systems will then be presented and discussed. We will also present some novel results on vertical fronthaul design using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) for 5G+ systems. Finally, the tutorial will present smart solutions to relax the backhaul/fronthaul requirements and discuss recent industrial practices for fronthaul design in HetNets. Therefore, this tutorial further targets to present an extensive overview of wireless backhaul/fronthaul solutions and their deployment implications in dense HetNet. Several simulation results and case studies will be presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the presented backhaul/fronthaul frameworks and their comparison to existing and other traditional technologies.
Specifically, this tutorial will provide answers for the following:
- What are the backhaul/fronthaul requirements for 5G networks (such as data rate, latency, etc.)?
- What are the practical and emerging high data rate competitive technologies to build wireless backhaul/fronthaul network between RRUs and BBUs in HetNet (hybrid RF, FSO, mm-wave and UAVs)?
- What are the industrial practices for fronthauling and backhauling in HetNets?
- What are the backhaul relaxation approaches (traffic offloading, D2D, Wi-Fi and WiGig enabled HetNets)?
Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir (S’02, M’10, SM’16) is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer UK) in Networks in the School of Engineering and Computing at University of the West Scotland (UWS), Paisley, Scotland where he is a member of Artificial Intelligence, Visual Communications and Network (AVCN) research group. Before joining UWS in Fall 2016, he has worked as a Senior Researcher in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University, Canada where he served as a project manager for Carleton-Industry collaborative R&D projects and led the Teams of graduate and undergraduate researchers working on Drones-enabled communications for 5G networks. During his stay at Carleton University, most of his research has been sponsored by local industry partners and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). In this role, he has also served as a Consultant for R&D at Communications Theory Lab, KAUST where he was responsible for providing his expertise for the development of FSO based sustainable fronthaul network for 5G communications. Previously, from July 2012 to July 2015, he worked as an Assistant Research Scientist at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), Qatar where he was a Co-Lead PI of 1M $ project awarded by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) on heterogeneous networks. Prior to joining, TAMUQ in July 2012, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia where he received a collaborative research award from the KAUST Global Collaborative Research initiative for research project on cognitive radio enabled heterogeneous networks with University of Surrey. From September 2010 to December 2010, he was a Visiting Researcher at Institute for Communication Systems (ICS), University of Surrey, UK. Dr. Shakir's main research interests lie in design and development of heterogeneous networks for urban and rural coverage via unconventional aerial and regular architectures. He is also interested in developing unified integrated user centric frameworks for emerging 5G technologies such as Caching, D2D, MTC, IoT and SDR. Dr. Shakir has diversified experience in evaluation of wireless systems from the perspective of energy efficiency, Carbon footprint, area spectral efficiency and area green efficiency. He has been also directly engaged in the development and standardization of IEEE DySPAN 1900.7 standard project. Dr. Shakir has a track record of more than 75 technical journal and conference publications including many in the world’s most reputable journals in the areas of wireless communications, communication theory and green communications networks. He has also contributed to 7 books. Dr. Shakir is co-editor of two edited books and co-author of an authored book on Green Heterogeneous Wireless Networks published by Wiley John & Sons and endorsed by IEEE Press. Dr. Shakir has been/is giving tutorials on emerging wireless communication systems at IEEE flagship conferences such as IEEE ICC 2016, Kuala Lumpur, IEEE ICUWB 2015, Montreal, IEEE GLOBECOM 2014/2015, Austin/San Diego, IEEE BlackSeaSom 2015, Constanta, Romania and IEEE ICC 2014, Sydney. He has been/is also serving as a Chair/Co-Chair of several workshops/special sessions such as GRASNET 2017, 5GUA 2017, BackNets 2016, GreenICT 2015 and ReAP 2015 in IEEE flagship conferences, such as ICC, VTC and GlobalSIP. He has been also serving on the technical program committee of different IEEE conferences, including Globecom, ICC, and WCNC. He is an Associate Technical Editor of IEEE Communications Magazine and has served as a lead Guest Editor/Guest Editor for IEEE Communications Magazine, IEEE Wireless Communications and IEEE Access. Dr. Shakir is serving as a Chair of IEEE ComSoc emerging technical committee on backhaul/fronthaul communications and networking. He has been serving as an active member to several IEEE ComSoc technical committees. From January 2012 to January 2016, he served as an elected Secretary to the IEEE DySPAN 1900.7 working group. He is serving as the standard representative of IEEE ComSoc technical committee on Signal processing and communication electronics. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, an active member of IEEE ComSoc and IEEE Standard Association.
Mohamed-Slim Alouini (S’94, M’98, SM’03, F’09) was born in Tunis, Tunisia. He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA, in 1998. He served as a faculty member in the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA, then in the Texas A&M University at Qatar, Education City, Doha, Qatar before joining King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia as a Professor of Electrical Engineering in 2009. Prof. Alouini is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a member of the Thomson ISI Web of Knowledge list of Highly Cited Researcher and of the Elsevier/Shanghai Ranking list of Most Cited Researchers, and an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Communications Society. He is a recipient of the Recognition Award of the IEEE ComSoc Wireless Technical Committee in 2016 and a co-recipient of best paper awards in ten IEEE conferences (including ICC, GLOBECOM, VTC, PIMRC, and DySPAN). His current research interests include the modelling, design, and performance analysis of wireless communication systems.
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